Name: Laurie Underwood
Occupation: Fashion Designer
Years in the Industry: 5
Q: Who is Wanda Grace? How did you develop this name for your brand?
Wanda Grace is for the woman who desires to stand out, while fitting in at the same time. Wanda Is actually my middle name. I wanted my line to be extension of myself, without displaying Laurie Underwood as the name. I also wanted to add an aspiring characteristic to the name, which was graceful. So, I decided to name my line, Wanda Grace.
Q: What steps did you take in order to pursue your designer dreams?
It started at the age of nine. I was drawing fashion illustrations like it was nobody's business. As I grew into my passion, I decided that only I could make my dreams come true and that could only happen through my actions. In Detroit, Michigan, I was fortunate to study Fashion Illustration and Design in high school. I then attended design school in Chicago to learn more about fashion and possible contributions I could make to the industry.
Now that I had the art of fashion down, It was time for me to learn the business of fashion. I continued my studies into Fashion Marketing and gained an internship with the Midwest sales group for Rocawear. Because there was not an opportunity available after my internship, the Sales Rep I mentored under referred me to one of her colleagues, and I became a Showroom Assistant for kids urban wear growing into a Sales Rep for Men's urban wear. Here I learned how fashion ultimately got to the hands of the customer, and I thought, I could do this with my own line.
I invested in my passion and myself, and to this day, I am nurturing the seed I planted at just nine years old. It withers away sometimes, but I have just the right amount of drive and dedication to keep it from dying.
Q: Prints and bold color seems to be your design aesthetic, how did this come about?
When shopping for fabrics, I always gravitate towards bold colors and funky prints. It's my comfort zone. My customer desires to stand out, while fitting in at the same time, and I try to make sure that concept in implemented in every piece.
Q: What inspired your recent collection?
I am totally inspired by all things ladylike, bold colors, and fabrics in which I can design a fitted look to show that she's a woman, but loose enough to show that she is also a lady. My style inspirations are Tracee Ellis Ross, Solange, Janelle Monae and Eunice Johnson of the Ebony Fashion Fair.
Q: What advice can you give to budding designers?
Learn your passion and become an expert at what you do.
Q: Can we have a sneak peak on what to expect next?
The Dress Coat by Wanda Grace-Having something chic and ladylike will keep me happy
Q: If you were left on an island and could only bring three items, what would they be and why?
My journal- I write down everything, and sketch design ideas. Maybe I'll be able to create a collection made out of tropical plants
My self- meditation book- 3,299 Mantras, Tips, Quotes and Koans for Peace and Serenity by Barbara Ann Kipfer. It will be perfect for meditation by the water.